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Slavery, Amazon Version

2018 February 2
by Ian Welsh

Because Hell (aka. working at an Amazon warehouse and plenty other places) is about to get worse. Amazon has patented wristbands which track where  your hand is at all times AND can nudge you.

Amazon already tracks warehouse workers  by the second, with supervisors watching their location.

This is hell. Absolute hell.  It extends assembly line horror to a vast range of other jobs, allows a smaller number of supervisors (and soon AI) to watch them and control them like flesh-robots.

Revolution is the only sane response to the extension of such technologies. And quite probably, revolution French style.


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93 Responses leave one →
  1. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    February 2, 2018

    I can’t wait for their Healthcare Solution!!

    That should be fun!!

    Nurses will get paid $10/hr. — a fortune and certainly plenty enough to pay back all those student loans because the requirements to become a nurse are more rigorous & onerous year over year and thus far more expensive.

    Amazon Drones will deliver hearts & kidneys & lungs & pancreases & livers & prostate glands & fertilized embryos & limbs & insulin & chemo drugs directly to your door without ever having to see a doctor in person.

    Woo Hoo!!

    What a Grand Future it will be with Tesla & Google & Amazon & Twitter & Facebook leading the way to that Eternal Bliss just ahead.

    Twenty years from now these STUPID F*CKING Conservatives are going to beg for illegal immigration but it will be too late. The Wall allegedly designed to keep the dirty brown ones out was intended to keep the fat & lazy Meat Sacks in so they can ultimately work off all the decades of disease-inducing lethargy & apathy.

  2. V. Arnold permalink
    February 2, 2018

    The Stephen Miller Band
    February 2, 2018

    LOL. Nice summary of our future(?).
    Lucky for me, I’ll be dead before that eventuality…

  3. V. Arnold permalink
    February 2, 2018

    We’ve been groomed since kindergarden to become wage slaves; it’s part of public education.
    Oh? You thought public education was to educate you? Silly goose; NO! Anything but!
    Your universities are just a very slightly more advanced more of the same. With few exceptions (some private universities being an exception) it’s just more of the same old shit.
    The government does not want an “educated” population; they’re far too troublesome.
    The success of that system should be obvious in today’s, apathetic population, laying down in front of a repressive government bent on forever war, ahead of a compliant citizenry.
    You bought it; you paid for it; you now live with it.

  4. Hugh permalink
    February 2, 2018

    Recalls images of the silent film Metropolis. It goes back to notion that corporations’ only reason for existence is to fulfill social goods, i.e. make a better society, not maximize profits. Amazon does not make a better society. It should not exist.

  5. tony permalink
    February 2, 2018

    The purpose of public schooling was originally a project by the prussians to produce obedient factory workers and soldiers for the military. There was a time when the germanic people would refuse to die on command and despised the voluntary slavery of a corporate job. From there it was brought to the US to produce an obedient workforce.

    I know this, yet have no solutions. The decade of imprisonment during which I should have learned the skills to make an independent person have left me unable to survive outside the structures provided for me. Even in the military, I was provided food, shelter etc. So things might get worse, but I am still incredibly rich as long as hot water comes from the shower and the stores sell me food. As long as that is true, I won’t grab a book and live under the moonlit sky, cradling a rifle.

    And I am a young man, military trained, not rich. Women, the fat, the unhealthy, the purely urban who can not even plant a tent would have even less willingness to do it. The only threat the workforce can make is to mess with profits. The state can kill almost everyone in a city by cutting supply chains, and an attempted revolution certainly would cut supplies to cities. You would see cannibalism in less than three weeks, and people would welcome right wing Safety Squads to make sure their city won’t be destroyed.

    The french, the russians etc. could have a revolution because they produced their own food, and had communities of mutual obligation and support.

  6. scruff permalink
    February 2, 2018

    Not only has it not made a better society, it has actively built its business on the back of the destruction of American wealth, clearly seen from it’s decade-long history of putting brick-and-mortar stores out of business before turning a profit (the indicator of wealth production, theoretically). It also seems as if its profitability lately derives primarily if not only from AWS, which does not bode well for American wealth in terms of food distribution in the post Whole Foods era. How many lossful quarters in this business will Amazon accept in order to destroy the distribution network that Americans rely on, thus driving them into the arms of Amazon by necessity?

    How the fuck is Bezos not rotting in prison? Oh, that’s right, capitalism is the only option (TM).

  7. V. Arnold permalink
    February 2, 2018

    tony
    February 2, 2018

    You are correct:
    The purpose of public schooling was originally a project by the prussians to produce obedient factory workers and soldiers for the military. There was a time when the germanic people would refuse to die on command and despised the voluntary slavery of a corporate job. From there it was brought to the US to produce an obedient workforce.
    Have you read The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto? I think maybe you have.

    So, are you really that helpless? Knowing what you do, I find that hard to believe.
    I rebelled from an early age; never accepted their bullshit. I paid a heavy price; but worth every bit of it.
    I got out, late in life, but I got out. The world is far more than we’re led to believe; time to take the jump…

  8. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2018

    @ Ian

    “Revolution is the only sane response to the extension of such technologies. And quite probably, revolution French style.”

    Ummm, perhaps you have not noticed that none of your flock even want to discuss the basic concepts that must precede any revolution.

    Personally, I have now given up on the notion that any lefties will ever have the balls to exchange their Pussy Hats for weapons and guerilla tactics.

    The meek shall inherit nothing.

  9. February 2, 2018

    I can imagine it must be a bitch for those with OAB and IBS who would need to take more frequent bathroom breaks.
    …as well as those who are hypoglycemic needing to take frequent snack breaks.

  10. Peter permalink
    February 2, 2018

    So long as these workers can take off their shock collars after work and earn $13/hr calling this slavery is a bit of commie hyperbole.

  11. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    February 2, 2018

    So long as these workers can take off their shock collars after work and earn $13/hr calling this slavery is a bit of commie hyperbole.

    A commie like Putin? He’s a commie, isn’t he? Just as a pedophile is always a pedophile, a commie is always a commie, right?

  12. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    February 2, 2018

    …as well as those who are hypoglycemic needing to take frequent snack breaks.

    Imagine Trump working for Amazon and not being able to Tweet.

    What a glorious, side-splitting vision it is. He’d be freaking out so much the number of shocks he received would effectively amount to Electric Shock Therapy — just what THIS doctor orders.

    Donnie Davos working side by side with Peter & Hillary & Bill & George & Dick & Rummy & Barack & Michelle and so many others.

    I can just see Lush Blimpblow huffing & puffing & sweating profusely as he fills a yuge order for colostomy bags & catheters to be delivered to The Fletcher Memorial Home For Incurable Tyrants & Kings.

  13. Willy permalink
    February 2, 2018

    I’ve worked in digital sweatshops. Even if you are at the top of productivity, there’s no guarantee of job security.

    The mob rules everything, but the problem is that the mob is made of sheep. It’s only when it appears to be safe to run in a particular direction, usually with many others, do the sheep figure there’s safety in numbers against getting picked off by wolves (or their surrogates the shepherd dogs). Yet theoretically any three sheep could disable a shepherd dog, probably any two an unarmed shepherd. I’m not sure if continuously shaming the sheep will change their thinking. But there may be other ways.

  14. atcooper permalink
    February 2, 2018

    Running an insurgency inside the US requires folks to be so disillusioned that giving up their luxuries is easy. Once folks no longer have the bread and circuses to help anesthetize, the violence will happen.

    It may well be that building new ideologies to guide the future revolutionaries is the best course for now.

    Work on your fear of death folks. It’s part of what holds up this house of cards.

  15. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2018

    Well, it can now be seen that the FBI and the DOJ were Gruber-fied during the Obama years.

    Who will be angry at whom?

  16. atcooper permalink
    February 2, 2018

    I’m familiar with Gruber, but maybe not enough to understand how the FBI and DOJ were gruberfied?

  17. Name Withheld permalink
    February 2, 2018

    RC

    You would then be surprised at the number of ex-special operations and regular military vets amongst the leftists and progressives. Not to mention that numbers of the non-military from those orientations are buying assault rifles and other weapons and learning how to use them. There are also leftist oriented mixed martial arts businesses providing free training in such fighting techniques for the cause.

    Historically leftists have not been lacking in commitment nor the willingness to use violence any more than rightists. Expect no less today when the time comes.

  18. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2018

    @ atcooper

    Try Googling “What is Jonathan Gruber famous for?”

  19. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2018

    @ Name Withheld

    Gee, nobody’s gotten mad enough to do anything yet.

    Maybe they can’t leave their safe spaces until they can all find their Pussy Hats?

    Nobody in history ever had to deal with this surveillance state and its weapon capabilities.

    Standing up to today’s behemoth would take incredible courage.

    My experience is that those on the left are afraid to even discuss revolution as a hypothetical or scholarly discussion. People who are afraid to talk about their freedom don’t deserve to have any, IMO.

  20. February 2, 2018

    Never trust a smile. The world’s biggest sociopaths often have the most disarming smiles. They’re weapons for them.

    By the way, Naked Capitalism has a story up about how Whole Foods workers have become miserable since Amazon bought the company out and have instilled their wonderful work culture.

    Z

  21. February 2, 2018

    “Revolution is the only sane response to the extension of such technologies. “

    True, however, revolution in US? Not likely.

    Even the ‘amazon camper force’ (mainly retirees) are GRATEFUL to have that job for a few months.

    The problems are ‘mainly’ the baby boomers, from the low end to the mid and the higher ends. They are behaving like a very spoiled child. Spoiled with a generous society that for the most part provided them with safety and prosperity. Looking thru the lens of their grand parents and parents generations of the 1910s, 20s and the 1930s, 40s. The boomers came along after their G. parents suffered thru the previous generation of robber barons and then their wars. By then, life and society had settled down. The economy was booming, the family and the home was there with dad working and mom looking after boomers. The public school was functioning, the partying, drugs, music was aplenty. College was affordable and readily available and much more.

    Perhaps the “only” bright moment could be considered the Vietnam war demonstrations. And that was simply due to their understanding of serving in a loosing war, they are likely to come back in body bags. After that, they had their jobs, careers, the house, dogs, two cars, etc.. and now, they are retiring to their motorhomes (those who can afford it) and traveling and enjoying their pensions, 401k, etc..

    Generally, They have no interest to change anything! Regardless of their worth status. They are the ones who neglected to do their bidding to keep their government in check (excepting folks like Nader, etc, and Nader is shunned by most of them!). Just showing up at the booth and voting mindlessly will not do.

    not much will change while they are around. The next generation who ,to some extend had been living with parents or of parents, have no motivation. Hell will likely freeze before there is any prospect of revolution in US. It is sad, as there are a whole lot more of us than the less of 1%. no need for guns if folks were willing to wake up from their slumber of acid trips and highs..

    btw, some of those necons and the establishments too would be part of these boomers. They too, are not willing to change despite continued failed FP practices that are very damaging to the empire. Perhaps, dollar failure or financial bust for the country, ‘may’ wake up folks. Such is life and deaf of societies, not the first, nor the last one.. if you can figure out how to get thru average folk, then change will be fairly easy to follow.

  22. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2018

    @ Rd

    Not sure what you expect the crippled old Boomers to do at this point.

    Regardless, why wouldn’t you look to the young, who will be the only ones who will be here to experience the future, to be doing more to fight for that future?

    Hey, maybe the women can fight this one . . .

  23. Willy permalink
    February 2, 2018

    Re-revolution:

    They tried this in South Dakota, which passed, but lawmakers nixed it:
    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/north-dakota/articles/2018-01-31/north-dakota-group-backs-government-ethics-overhaul-measure

    If enough of these initiatives are majority passed, then shot down by elected representatives, I think it’d be pretty obvious what’s going on, and more aggressive steps would need to be taken. Is it still possible to follow the money much, anymore?

    One problem is the large number of sheep cultists who actually believe that God is on the side of their elected officials, or that their team cannot be failed, or some other monkey brain shit. There are too many of those around today. It seems like yesterday when regular Joes were skeptical of politicians and power and few were considered sacred. How times have changed.

  24. February 2, 2018

    I don’t like … or agree with … the generational blame game. First of all, it is not like all people from a generation act in concert, but this sort of bs lays it on every one of them. And beyond that, it further divides us, and muddies up the true battle lines: the one between the economic classes, the one between the extremely rich that control way too much, including our freedom, and the rest of us. That’s where the schism is at, not between entire generations.

    Z

  25. February 2, 2018

    Our rulers totally promote this generational nonsense when they go after social security, which they see as an overall loss to them.

    Z

  26. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2018

    @ Z

    I don’t like it either, but the truth is the Boomer generation allowed this situation to develop.

    My generation.

  27. February 2, 2018

    A whole entire generation allowed it to happen? No. It’s not that simple. And it’s not like that they were the only people alive during the period as well.

    Z

  28. realitychecker permalink
    February 2, 2018

    It’s never the “entire” anything lol.

  29. February 2, 2018

    And it’s not like our rulers got the Boomer generation together back in 1970 and said, “Okay folks, here’s where things are today. In 50 years, this is where we plan it to be for the future generations. All right? You good with that?” Nods all around. “Okay, we’ll go ahead with it then.”

    It was an incremental movement … and as with all complex movements that involve 100s of millions of variables, no, make it billions, including some of them that are commonly referred to as human beings: an uncertain one … and during that time plenty of other people from other generations possessed free will as well.

    Z

  30. February 2, 2018

    Well, if it’s not an “entire” thing, then why entirely group them all together?

    Z

  31. Mongo permalink
    February 2, 2018

    Yet more of Bezos’ sweatshop megalomania. I tried writing a number of reasoned observations, but they were puffery and intellect. Something else is required now.

    So here’s one, offered without explanation or apology:

    Kämpfen wir als Sozialisten,
    Endlich in einer Front!
    Arbeitsbrüder, Kommunisten;
    Rot Front! Rot Front!

  32. February 2, 2018

    “I don’t like it either, but the truth is the Boomer generation allowed this situation to develop.
    My generation.”

    yes, that was the premise of the argument. If this is to be the government of the people, by the people, for the people, the boomers, left for good and the government became hi-jacked. Yes, ultimately, it is a class war fare. However, this generation had all the comforts of the society in general. They did not suffer like those in the early 20th, no comparison. So it seems, they in “general” behaved as the “spoiled” child and did not take the responsibility to “govern” regardless of being heart bleeding this or that.

    And yes it is a good portion of them. They have been and continue to be a significant portion of the society, culturally, economically and politically. 70% of the disposable income is in the hands of the boomers. And yes, some of them will suffer thru the loss of SS and medicare. There is already the Amazon Camper Force. Look ’em up. there will be more of them.

    Those are the behaviors associated to a spoiled child who has no compass. They have no reason to see things differently. Regardless of being demo, or republican, atheist v religious, poor or rich. They had all the comfort of the society, unlike what many people experience in most other parts of this world. By comfort, I don’t mean wealth. They had a society that had some level of checks and balances. It had the freedom, privacy, some of level guarantee for personal property , etc….

    As an immigrant of some 40 yrs, I’ve seen this song and dance before, when the barons and the establishment goes rogue, there will be suffering. However, change will only come thru, when there is awareness. That simply, is not just lacking, it is non-existing, for a great majority here. This is not an issue of guns as some presume. If there was a mass movement, thing could change here literally, over night.

    How do you change the behavior, or perspective of an spoiled child? They have no reason to do so. Thats why, not much will change here, except, there will be more poor. Some 50% make less than 27k/yr, while some 48% feel the economy is doing good. In 5 yrs, there will be more of the 50% and less of the 48%, not much will change. Perhaps some more violence and more of the extremists here and there. There is still way too much comfort here for most.

    The failure of the occupy movement in GENERAL is one example. Neither the left over boomers, nor their off-springs felt the need to endanger their status quo. So no resistance. It folded when the party became stale.

    Such are the stories of human societies past and present. how do you get the masses to wake up? when there is pain and suffering, they’ll pay attention. Seems like we have yet to leave the caveman’s mentality.

  33. Blissex permalink
    February 2, 2018

    «It extends assembly line horror to a vast range of other jobs, allows a smaller number of supervisors (and soon AI) to watch them and control them like flesh-robots.»

    Some time ago someone wrote a little dystopian sci-fi story about where this is partly already happening, “Zero hours” by T Maughan:

    https://medium.com/@timmaughan/zero-hours-f68f17e8c12a

    There is another story where a company develops an “employee operating system” that directs every move of an employee via headphones, until the employees are replaced by robots and dumped into welfare barracks where they drink water laced with birth control, as a condition of receiving welfare, but I cannot find it anymore. I’ll keep trying.

  34. February 2, 2018

    Seems like we have yet to leave the caveman’s mentality.

    and the establishment knows that, so they will always exploit it to the hilt. or when the rope, guillotine or accountability shows up.

  35. atcooper permalink
    February 2, 2018

    I was mistakenly thinking Graeber. Ty for the clarification

  36. February 2, 2018

    Hell isn’t when they track you, Hell is when paying to track you do bring in enough payment. This is happening soon – but not soon enough.

  37. Hugh permalink
    February 2, 2018

    As this is a labor thread, this is not so far off topic. The BLS jobs report covering January 2018 came out today. The first thing to know is that 200,000 were not created in January. In no month is the discrepancy between the reality (the seasonally unadjusted numbers) and the official stats so striking as January. In fact, with the end of the holiday season, the economy lost 2.59 million jobs in the private sector and 3.085 million overall (private and public sectors, together).

    If you look at the January-December 2017 build in jobs in the private sector, take out the December-January drop off, you end up with the net 2017 jobs increase, 2.07 million or 173,000 a month, slightly off from 2017’s 176,000. This is a pretty mediocre number, and far below the benchmark 2014 number of 240,000.

    In terms of total nonfarm jobs (the private and public sectors combined), because of job losses on the government side, the monthly increase remains at 173,000 a month compared to 2017’s 192,000 and 2014’s 252,000.

    Other points: The percentage of production and nonsupervisory employees increased to 82.2% of private jobs. The average work week for this group plunged to 33.1 hours, down 0.7 hour from December and 0.4 hour from January 2017. This is a big deal and has a lot to do with a measly 0.78% January over January increase in their average weekly wages and this is nominal not real. Parenthetically, Trump has made a big deal about coal. Coal jobs did increase January over January by a whopping 800 jobs to 51,800. That is out of 123 million private sector and 145 million nonfarm jobs.

  38. Hugh permalink
    February 2, 2018

    should read: slightly off from 2016’s 176,000
    and
    compared to 2016’s 192,000
    I was juggling a cat who wanted to sit on the keyboard while writing the original comment.

  39. Tom permalink
    February 3, 2018

    Watching the Hadi Government implode to South Yemeni Separatists while the UAE hoodwinked the Sauds just before the coup, is just hilarious.

    The Hadi Government was so fucking corrupt that the UAE was forced to pay salaries for state employees as money placed in the Yemeni Government Coffers was immediately stolen by the Hadi Cabinet.

    Still this 4-way fight is now going to become a 5-way fight. The South Yemenese are sick of dying for Northern Incompetence and Misrule.

  40. V. Arnold permalink
    February 3, 2018

    Mongo
    February 2, 2018

    English:
    Left, left, left, left!
    The drums are beating!
    Left, left, left, left!
    The working class is marching!
    We’re not concerned with your party allegiance.
    Only that your honestly in the fight.
    Against injustice and reaction!
    We are united by poverty and hunger,
    By our fallen in the fight against the enemy.
    And by our songs of revolution!

    Red Wedding, greets you comrades,
    Be ready with your fists!
    Keep the red ranks close together,
    Our day will come soon.
    Fighting as Socialists
    United to the end.
    Brothers of labor, communists.
    Red Front! Red Front!

    It would’ve been nice to post it in English, all of it.
    Interesting and no appology necessary.
    I doubt the U.S. is ready for that; but then; Usian’s aren’t ready for anything that tout’s action over words.
    By all means, go for it. I certainly wouldn’t object.

  41. February 3, 2018

    Just resign! There are plenty of other jobs out there now, especially if government (both UK and US) pursues balanced trade and balanced migration policies for full employment. Full employment puts the boot on the employee’s foot.

    By the way, I have just added a post entitled “An Epistle to the Germans” on my blog at jepoynton.com. Hope you like it.

  42. realitychecker permalink
    February 3, 2018

    @ Z

    “Well, if it’s not an “entire” thing, then why entirely group them all together?”

    Appropriate deference to the shortness of life lol?

    I respect you, so not looking for a fight here, but that was kind of a rhetorical trick question.

    Grouping for better efficiency is necessary, and OK as long as it is used honestly, which I think I did.

    The Boomers did some good things on the sexual and political awareness fronts, but the vast majority of us went to sleep after Kent State and Nixon.

    That set the stage for the following generations to stay asleep as applied to any concepts higher than identity politics.

    I predicted fascism in America in 1975, so I’ve been pushing back against the tide since the 80’s, but many friends won’t even discuss anything serious with me anymore.

    Looks like somebody won, and it isn’t decent regular folks. But we all played our parts in the tragedy.

  43. Peter permalink
    February 3, 2018

    @JP

    The agitprop value of this story decreases when it’s made clear these are entry level low skill jobs not careers. This is where young people learn to work and also learn they need more training or education to avoid being stuck in this type of work.

    Demand and need for these positions is high with over 40 thousand new hires last year

  44. Willy permalink
    February 3, 2018

    Yeah. Only commies actually get dressed up just to go shop at a bunch of little loser businesses anymore. In a proper capitalism apex corporations get to say: “Look at all the empty streets and vacant storefronts. We’re the only job creators now. We win!”

  45. Peter permalink
    February 3, 2018

    @Hugh

    You had to work hard to diss a small town’s worth of coal miners, who are back at work, to take a cheap shot at their champion in Washington. Growth in coal mining jobs is dependent on foreign trade but Trump’s new energy policies stopped the planned bleeding of thousands of jobs in the coal belt.

    These well paid high skill miners are some of the most productive workers on the planet. 50,000 of them produce 800 million short tons of coal that supplies half of our electric needs.

  46. BlizzardOfOzzz permalink
    February 3, 2018

    @rc, I have quote for you from Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. The whole chapter is worth reading, but the below part treats of revolution. The modern left is like a clown-world parody of what he’s criticizing here …

    In case the point is not clear, an historic example may illustrate it. The French Revolution was really an heroic and decisive thing, because the Jacobins willed something definite and limited. They desired the freedoms of democracy, but also all the vetoes of democracy. They wished to have votes and not to have titles. Republicanism had an ascetic side in Franklin or Robespierre as well as an expansive side in Danton or Wilkes. Therefore they have created something with a solid substance and shape, the square social equality and peasant wealth of France. But since then the revolutionary or speculative mind of Europe has been weakened by shrinking from any proposal because of the limits of that proposal. Liberalism has been degraded into liberality. Men have tried to turn “revolutionise” from a transitive to an intransitive verb. The Jacobin could tell you not only the system he would rebel against, but (what was more important) the system he would not rebel against, the system he would trust. But the new rebel is a Sceptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist. And the fact that he doubts everything really gets in his way when he wants to denounce anything. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind; and the modern revolutionist doubts not only the institution he denounces, but the doctrine by which he denounces it. Thus he writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book (about the sex problem) in which he insults it himself. He curses the Sultan because Christian girls lose their virginity, and then curses Mrs. Grundy because they keep it. As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself. A man denounces marriage as a lie, and then denounces aristocratic profligates for treating it as a lie. He calls a flag a bauble, and then blames the oppressors of Poland or Ireland because they take away that bauble. The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes on to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts. In short, the modern revolutionist, being an infinite sceptic, is always engaged in undermining his own mines. In his book on politics he attacks men for trampling on morality; in his book on ethics he attacks morality for trampling on men. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.

  47. highrpm permalink
    February 3, 2018

    @peter,
    The agitprop value of this story decreases when it’s made clear these are entry level low skill jobs not careers. This is where young people learn to work and also learn they need more training or education to avoid being stuck in this type of work

    huh? by that logic, it’s okay to mistreat the underclassers. because misery may help motivate those folks to try to move up to a higher class?

    where are the sjw’s in screaming about amazon’s uncivil treatment of their warehouse workers? at this point, poynton is correct: workers only recourse is to choose not to work for amazon. (oop’s, i forgot, $$$ confers authority, a basic tenet of western capitalism.)

  48. Ann permalink
    February 3, 2018

    @Hugh,

    Thanks for posting your deconstruction of the employment reports here. I find it hard to make sense of these things in light of the media cheerleading, and appreciate that you continue to cast a critical eye upon it.

  49. Hugh permalink
    February 3, 2018

    Coal mining is about the mine owners, not the workers. You don’t need a lot of workers to blow the top off a mountain and then load the coal on to trucks. Hell on the environment though. That is the real reason why jobs in the industry have plummeted. The move of utilities to gas fired electrical generation was just the coup de grace. Coal is a dirty fuel which is a significant contributor to global warming. Of course, if you are completely morally and intellectually dishonest, you probably don’t believe in global warming. And no matter how you cut it coal jobs account for not a percent, or a tenth of a percent, but 0.03% of jobs in the US. How about paying attention to the other 99.97%?

  50. Hugh permalink
    February 3, 2018

    Ann, thank you. Most of the economic analysis I see is so off that it reminds me of the Upton Sinclair quote that “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” It’s not just sloppy and lazy. Or lots and lots of magical thinking. Or cynical to the nth degree. It’s all of the above.

  51. Peter permalink
    February 3, 2018

    @Hrpm

    I have yet to see any proof of uncivil treatment or mistreatment of these workers. There will soon be 500,000 employees at Amazon and it appears that most of them see the work productivity requirments as a challenge and the new tech as tools to help with their work.

    I think that Amazon and any other business has the right to expect their workers to perform their jobs at maximum efficency and output. Some minority of workers don’t like being pushed to this level of performance and the commies are waiting to ralley to their cause of low productivity and being a drag on their coworkers.

    There seems to be plenty of the lower paying and less demanding jobs where some of these complaining people can make a career of lower expectations.

  52. February 3, 2018

    The only avenue for the American people to substantially gain more control of their economic destiny is to gain control of the money supply creation aka the Federal Reserve. The stock market is a rigged for the rich looting mechanism. It is our ruler’s self-driven vehicle to maintain and expand their power over us. It is our enemy.

    Z

  53. February 3, 2018

    The stock market’s fuel is money from the Federal Reserve.

    Z

  54. February 3, 2018

    That fuel line has to be broken.

    Z

  55. Peter permalink
    February 3, 2018

    @H

    I celebrate any good news for coal miners because they were singled out for destruction by CAGw alarmists and their political stooges. The EIA is projecting continuing coal use at present share levels worldwide for the next 30 years. The newest coal boilers are quite clean and produce mostly CO2 and water vapor emissions. China and India have many old dirty coal plants that need retrofitting.

    NASA did a world surface scan and compared it with one from 40 years ago. They saw and measured an increase in green plant growth of 15%. This correlates with the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere and mild warming producing a greening planet and more productive agriculture.

    While alarmists are waving their arms and yelling ‘heretic’ the Chinese, Russians and even Canadian beavers are heading north to take advantage of the improving weather.

  56. different clue permalink
    February 4, 2018

    ” The bed you make for Amazon workers is the bed you lie in when you work at Amazon.”

    Let those who buy from Amazon end up working there, as they deserve.

    Let the rest of us buy from the not-Amazons of our choice, in hopes of keeping them alive.

  57. V. Arnold permalink
    February 4, 2018

    different clue
    February 4, 2018

    Yes.
    And for personal empowerment, stop being a consumer altogether.

  58. different clue permalink
    February 4, 2018

    @V. Arnold,

    I assume by “stop being a consumer altogether”, you mean “stop being a consumer” in a relative sense. Because if you mean it at an absolutist level, then your comment is saying that to attain personal empowerment, you need to stop eating (consuming) food , stop drinking ( consuming) water, and stop breathing ( consuming) air until you die.

    Are you sure that is really what you meant to say? Because “stop being a consumer” very specifically means ” stop consuming food, stop consuming water, and stop consuming air . . . until you die”. But that would leave you very dead, not very empowered.

    Please note that I am being dead serious and not the least bit funny at all. And in that spirit, I hope you will clarify what you actually mean for me to stop being or doing in order to gain personal empowerment. And then the discussion can move forward on specific WAYS to stop being one thing and start being another. But that can’t happen till the meaning of “stop being a consumer” is clarified with extreme and total precision.

  59. V. Arnold permalink
    February 4, 2018

    different clue
    February 4, 2018
    Agree, should have defined my meaning far more clearly.
    I am of course speaking in the material sense, the shiny, the non-essentials, toys and status symbols.
    Debt; getting out of debt should be priority #1.
    I like a drink; whether it’s wine, gin, or a decent rum (very cheap here). So, I’m not a teetotaler and don’t live an austere life; but beyond life’s neccessities (including alcohol) I/we don’t buy much beyond food and clothing (and not much of the latter). We’re minimalists. Suficiency is a very good word to live by…
    I’m not trying to preach and tell people how to live, but; if what I read is true, far too many maintain their lifestyles on credit, which is debt of the very worst kind. I know this from experience more than 25 years ago.
    At some point those lives will be shattered, as was mine. But, I learned a very hard lesson.
    I don’t wish that on anybody.
    Your point is taken; hope this is clear.

  60. V. Arnold permalink
    February 4, 2018

    ^ sufficiency

  61. Hugh permalink
    February 4, 2018

    Actually if you go to https://climate.nasa.gov/effects/ you can read through the effects.

    Here are the regional effects in the US

    Northeast. Heat waves, heavy downpours and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised. Many states and cities are beginning to incorporate climate change into their planning.

    Northwest. Changes in the timing of streamflow reduce water supplies for competing demands. Sea level rise, erosion, inundation, risks to infrastructure and increasing ocean acidity pose major threats. Increasing wildfire, insect outbreaks and tree diseases are causing widespread tree die-off.

    Southeast. Sea level rise poses widespread and continuing threats to the region’s economy and environment. Extreme heat will affect health, energy, agriculture and more. Decreased water availability will have economic and environmental impacts.

    Midwest. Extreme heat, heavy downpours and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes.

    Southwest. Increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, all linked to climate change, have increased wildfires. Declining water supplies, reduced agricultural yields, health impacts in cities due to heat, and flooding and erosion in coastal areas are additional concerns.

    Much of this in turn comes from the government’s Third National Climate Assessment ( https://nca2014.globalchange.gov/ ) which has this to say about agriculture:

    Some areas are already experiencing climate-related disruptions, particularly due to extreme weather events. While some U.S. regions and some types of agricultural production will be relatively resilient to climate change over the next 25 years or so, others will increasingly suffer from stresses due to extreme heat, drought, disease, and heavy downpours. From mid-century on, climate change is projected to have more negative impacts on crops and livestock across the country – a trend that could diminish the security of our food supply.

  62. Hugh permalink
    February 4, 2018

    Climate disruptions to agricultural production have increased in the past 40 years and are projected to increase over the next 25 years. By mid-century and beyond, these impacts will be increasingly negative on most crops and livestock.

    Many agricultural regions will experience declines in crop and livestock production from increased stress due to weeds, diseases, insect pests, and other climate change induced stresses.

    Current loss and degradation of critical agricultural soil and water assets due to increasing extremes in precipitation will continue to challenge both rainfed and irrigated agriculture unless innovative conservation methods are implemented.

    The rising incidence of weather extremes will have increasingly negative impacts on crop and livestock productivity because critical thresholds are already being exceeded.

    Agriculture has been able to adapt to recent changes in climate; however, increased innovation will be needed to ensure the rate of adaptation of agriculture and the associated socioeconomic system can keep pace with climate change over the next 25 years.

    Climate change effects on agriculture will have consequences for food security, both in the U.S. and globally, through changes in crop yields and food prices and effects on food processing, storage, transportation, and retailing. Adaptation measures can help delay and reduce some of these impacts.

  63. Hugh permalink
    February 4, 2018

    The previous comment is an amplification and contains the key messages on agriculture in the 3rd National Climate Assessment upon which NASA bases its own exposition. Note adaptation is held out as a mitigating factor for some effects, but adaptive strategies have not been a priority and under Trump are pretty much off the table altogether.

  64. wendy davis permalink
    February 4, 2018

    if there’s a working class revolution any time soon, you can bet it won’t start here, but will be some sort of concerted (if not planned) global one. but in addition to this diary plus the hilarious tweets i’d stuck in comments, ‘‘Apple and Amazon in talks to set up in Saudi Arabia’ is everywhere, plus the WSJ had reported that microsoft an google are as well. yanno, w/ our ‘partners in peace-bombing yemen back to the stone age, etc….

    ‘everything i needed to know about Amazon’s dark arts i learned from the wsws’, cafe-babylon, although this pre-dated the wristwatches.

    http://bit.ly/2nFkgd9

  65. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    February 4, 2018

    Let those who buy from Amazon end up working there, as they deserve.

    Better yet, let those who OWN Amazon, i.e. the wealthy investors, work there. Their investment made it all possible. Without it, Amazon never would have existed. Bezos and his Wall Street pals.

    Let’s eliminate Wall Street altogether and mandate organizations be employee-owned & managed. This is what WE SHOULD BE DOING. Taking everything back that RIGHTFULLY belongs to us, The Little People.

    When we do, if we ever do, The Rich will unleash the police on us and then the military. In fact, I’m convinced that if we were to overcome all those layers of containment that keep us in our cages, The Rich would/will unleash The Samson Option and nuke America & The World rather than relinquish it from their cold dead hands. This is how ruthless & sinister they are.

  66. February 4, 2018

    Yep, Amazon is a creature of Wall Street. In a sane economy it would never have been able to get the capital and leverage it needed to get to its current size, and hence it leverage over American labor.

    This Whole Foods situation is going to blow up in Bezos’ face though. This will be their first high profile f’up. Take some shine off his shit.

    Z

  67. realitychecker permalink
    February 4, 2018

    @ Blizzard

    I read your last comment, and my thought is, Why do we spend so much time citing the words of others, even others from remote times that were very different from the present, when we could instead just focus on the glaring contradictions that we are living with on a continuous and ongoing basis?

  68. Willy permalink
    February 4, 2018

    Would reminding people of these glaring contradictions, in a single list for all to see, be of any use?

    I think people don’t revolt because their (not mine) cost-benefit analysis doesn’t point them that way. Do we need to be better at persuading them that it’s in their own best interest to overcome PTB cult and culture manipulations? Do we need to be better at persuading them that bread and circuses as carrot, police brutality as stick, controlled by an unelected few, isn’t the “American Way”?

  69. Peter permalink
    February 4, 2018

    @WD

    The sign outside the commie version of Amazon would be We Gurantee Late Delivery. Now that Bezos is approaching owning everything he may realize he has a real asset in his 500,000 employees.

    He could easily turn these robot directed slaves into a well regulated counter-revolutionary milita force. Most of the military people he hires are high payed management so he already has an officer/NCO corps. The grunts are young, healthy and already used to complaining about their military commanders who drive them to perform their jobs with a regimented military precision.

    The Bezos’ brigades would flow out of their warehouse armories to round up, package and ship the pinkos and poputchiks and deliver them to Jade Helm camps.

    Joe McCarthy was a drunk and nuts but he wasn’t wrong about the commies in government. There were thousands of card carring party members in FDR’s administrations. Their assignment was to make certain that the Depression became worse even with all the uncontutional mandates spending of the New Deal.

    Even though much of the New Deal looked like the communist manefesto many observers of FDR didn’t think he was bright enough to be an actiual commie but he said and did many things to show his support for their cause.

  70. realitychecker permalink
    February 4, 2018

    Glaring Contradiction #1: The Declaration of Independence lays out an extra-legal rationale to justify an armed revolution against an established status quo. The Constitution written by a newly empowered (through extra-legal force of arms) status quo provides no acceptable avenue to revolution, so it seems to be devoted to the idea that another revolution should never happen. Both documents are regarded as sacredly American. Nobody has ever said, “Disregard that bullshit about ‘consent of the governed’ in the Declaration.”

    Nobody seems to have any serious interest in resolving that contradiction, even though it affects so much that has been built upon it.

    If you willingly live with a serious contradiction, then part of your belief system is based on a lie. Period. (The most inconvenient truth?)

    I got a million of ’em. (h/t Jimmy Durante lol)

  71. different clue permalink
    February 4, 2018

    @V. Arnold,

    Thank you for the clarification. Your comment plus clarification make more sense now.

    Someone on a Naked Capitalism thread noted that people in his/hers area are referring to their Whole Foods as AssWhole Foods now. Perhaps one could expand that further into AssWhole Bezos Foods.

    Since Whole Foods only ever set up stores in places where a market was already proven to exist thanks to the hard work of others, perhaps disenchanted customers can switch to other decent food stores in their area fast enough and hard enough to crash and bankrupt AssWhole Bezos Foods and force it into liquidation. Then the captive workers at AssWhole Bezos Foods can break free and follow their customers to the other fast-growing no-Bezos stores and get work there.

    And perhaps the community can organize an extended extermicott in place and ready to go against any and every future Beznos which Amazon puts into those buildings.

  72. johnm33 permalink
    February 4, 2018

    I detest amazon, but given the paucity of shops find myself using it too much, i’ll reconsider.
    It’s true we need to take back, from the banks, the right to be soveriegn issuers of currency/debt/money. Money in an economy is like rain in an ecosystem, in the ecosystem of our economies all the rain is falling into corporate reservoirs, no service no water.
    There’s little that can be done to prepare for climate change, as the arctic transitions from an ice desert to a temperate ocean things will change in random steps, locally[everywhere], sometimes better sometimes worse. Eventually new “cold poles” will emerge and a new ‘normal’ establish but will that take a century or a millenium?

  73. Peter permalink
    February 4, 2018

    @Hugh

    You are confusing NASA’s work observing and reporting what is happening today on earth with what their quasi-religous propaganda division is predicting based on models that have been shown to be inaccurate alarmist hot-air time and again.

    Agriculture is thriving partly because of more CO2 and mild warming and just as the neo-Maltusians were wrong a few decades ago the CAGW alarmists can’t stop the bumper grain crops that continue to be produced. The Russians are having trouble moving their huge grain harvest to market but they had no trouble producing it.

    I read an Ag stat that negated the idea I had about more farm land being needed to feed the peak world population. US corn farmers produce five times the yields they did 100 years ago and they do it on less land than was farmed at that time. This is true worldwide where steady yield increases reduces the need for more farmland.

    We still have a Corps of Engineers and all the remediation and preparedness programs, national and local, to adapt to the real challenges of the future. Trump is having a sea-wall built at his Ireland golf course to protect it from slow steady SLR so he knows what remedies are needed to protect the US coastline.

    Forcing our energy industry and consumers to adopt unconstitutional foreign mandated, by an unelected body, energy policy is unwise as is letting this group redistribute our wealth. That madness was rejected and even the Clintonites are avoiding talking about GW.

  74. Hugh permalink
    February 4, 2018

    Peter, I cited, with links, the very organization NASA you were using to refute your point. You answer with more BS. Do you get paid by the word or the comment?

    Bezos has become the world’s richest man. It reminds me of Gates and Microsoft. Not real innovators but were able to exploit other people’s innovation: MSDos, e-commerce to create an abusive quasi-monopoly. It also shows the abusive power of the dictatorship of money, Wall Street money, that just steamrolls everyone and everything in its path. It’s not about efficiency or competitivity. It’s about having so much money. You buy the pot.

  75. Hugh permalink
    February 4, 2018

    Just to underline my last point. Amazon has a market cap of 689 billion dollars and a price to earnings ratio of 231.92. In no world with even the remotest tether to reality do either of those numbers make any sense.

  76. different clue permalink
    February 4, 2018

    @johnm33,

    A paucity of food shops makes it difficult. Still, any place rich enough to have a AssWhole Bezos Foods store is likely rich enough to have other food stores. Unless you were referring to shopping Mother Amazon itself . . . but then Mother Amazon doesn’t really sell much food yet, to my knowledge.

    But one thing Bezos does to create paucities of other shops all over is predatory pricing. He hopes to create a paucity and then a non-existence of other shops all over everywhere. And he apparently wants to do the same thing to food shops now, using Whole Foods as a probing device. So if you have any other food shops in your area besides Whole Foods, you might start buying from them in order to do your part to keep them from going extinct.

  77. February 4, 2018

    I wish that old crowd was here. There is a creaky air, and anchor stores are leading the way.

  78. BlizzardOfOzzz permalink
    February 4, 2018

    rc, regarding why quote old books: because our society is an open air insane asylum. I gather from your handle that you have noticed this.

  79. Tom W Harris permalink
    February 4, 2018

    Most of the posters here know that anythings Peter posts is just a buncha BM. For anyone who thinks his Amazon bj has a point, just Google

    amazon site:nakedcapitalism.com

    to get the real scoop.

  80. wendy davis permalink
    February 4, 2018

    @ Peter

    you have sense of humor; nice to see. but rather ‘fema camps’ no?

    and to those in the room desiring to be let off the leash to discuss ian’s ‘akin to the french revolution’, he could have, of course, and even have participated. but he won’t, given history. his aim seems to be all things to all readers, subscribers, etc., hence those of you who seem to note stuff like ‘where the alt-right and the alt-left (or close) meet.

  81. realitychecker permalink
    February 4, 2018

    @ Blizzard

    One of my oldest and best buddies died last October. We lived 2 houses apart from each other since we were 8 years old.

    I always give him major credit for the way I developed my intellectual side. Even as young as 9 or 10, his constant refrain was, “Don’t you have your own mind?”

    My own mind is good enough to look at the freshest data, and do a pretty damn good job of discerning and differentiating the truth from the falsity. I think a lot of other people could be at the same level of analysis, if they would just use their own mind, instead of relying on someone else’s mind and words which may or may not still be as brilliant today as when they were originally uttered.

    Of course, none of this is intended to reflect on you at all, just general observations about the world and humanity.

  82. different clue permalink
    February 5, 2018

    @The Stephen Miller Band,

    If nobody ever bought anything from Amazon, it would be worth nothing. The OWNERS of Amazon would be owning an empty beer can.

    It is all those millions of customers who put the beer in the beer can. Let them stop putting beer in Bezos’s beer can by stopping from buying anything at Amazon. If they don’t do that, then let them be the people who lose their jobs to Amazon’s “bonfire of the bricks and mortar”. Let them have no other choice left in life but to work at Amazon, as they deserve.

    I don’t want Bezos’s gold. I want to turn his gold into radioactive lead.
    I don’t want Bezos’s money. I want to turn his money into used toilet paper.
    I don’t want Bezos’s power. I want his power drained away and eliminated from existence.

    But I myself can’t make that happen. All I can do is to offer the vision . . . . the Vision of a World withOUT Amazon. And point out that it is possible to go through life . . . as I have. . . without buying or ever having bought a single thing from Amazon. And then let each one of Amazon’s individual customers make herm’s own individual decision whether to endorse Bezos’s Corporate Soviet Dreams with their personal customer dollars . . . or not.

  83. johnm33 permalink
    February 5, 2018

    @different clue
    Not food but all sorts of other stuff, shoes to polytunnels, we try to shop local but if they don’t have what you want… ?

  84. V. Arnold permalink
    February 5, 2018

    johnm33
    February 5, 2018

    … but if they don’t have what you want… ?

    Want. That could be the first clue. It might be worth examining.
    There are needs; and there are wants; wants are not needs.
    Sufficiency, for those who care about their environment, would be a very good byword for those so inclined.

  85. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    February 5, 2018

    It is all those millions of customers who put the beer in the beer can. Let them stop putting beer in Bezos’s beer can by stopping from buying anything at Amazon. If they don’t do that, then let them be the people who lose their jobs to Amazon’s “bonfire of the bricks and mortar”. Let them have no other choice left in life but to work at Amazon, as they deserve.

    Since THEY OWN EVERYTHING these days, not just Amazon, your Boycott Activism is Dead on Arrival. You will boycott yourself to death since they ultimately OWn what you need to survive in this System. The key is to remove THEM from ownership and to “Own” and “Manage” it OURSELVES.

  86. Willy permalink
    February 5, 2018

    Home Depot is another one. I liked em when they arrived – one stop warehouse shopping. But recently, I’ve noticed that they’re increasingly going towards volume consumer sales junk, often with no other options available except online. Their tile setting stuff is notorious low quality. Meanwhile a local store operating out of a small warehouse does a booming business selling higher quality stuff for 25% less. Want a DeWalt 24000 saw at Home Depot? $799. At the little company, $629, new out of the box. “More saving more doing” is a fucking lie. As an added bonus, the little store’s help know their stuff far better than at the HD, and they’ll load your vehicle more quickly.

    The question isn’t how the little company does it, but why do naïve sheeple keep on feeding at the overpriced HD trough?

    Amazon and Home Depot do a booming business taking advantage of the lazy, uninformed citizen. IMHO, so does the modern Republican party, and increasingly, the Democratic party as well. I’m not sure of the numbers, but I’ll bet if you take away the tribal conservative evangelical vote (and no other demographic), we have a far more progressive society.

    Offended by that? Most evangelicals think that God believes in Trump, God put him there. If “More saving less doing” was repeated often enough, I’d bet they’d come to believe that God created Amazon and Home Depot.

  87. different clue permalink
    February 5, 2018

    @TheStephenMillerBand,

    Well . . . . that certainly is a theory. I continue to have my theory. If I buy something for “more” at Floyd’s House of Hardware instead of for “less” on Amazon, I am doing my part to keep Floyd’s House of Hardware alive in the teeth of Amazon’s effort to exterminate Floyd’s House of Hardware through predatory underpricing. Since Floyd’s House of Hardware neither owns me nor wants to own me the way Amazon does or wants to, I feel no need to own Floyd’s House of Hardware. Floyd knows hardware and Floyd knows retail service bussiness, and I don’t know either one. So it is in my interest to keep Floyd in bussiness to keep serving my needs and to keep Amazon from ruling the world.

    That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

    @johnm33,

    I see the problem. Amazon may already be the sole source of supply for some things. But not yet for all things. I don’t know about mail order shoes in detail, though I remember when LL Bean used to sell mail order shoes. You drew an outline of your feet and mailed it in, and they sold you the pair of shoes in the size indicated by your drawn foot outlines. If that still happens, that is one source.

    About polytunnels, here off the top of my head is a no-Bezos source for polytunnels. I will offer the link.
    http://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-supplies/greenhouse-and-tunnel-supplies/
    There may be other seed companies who will also sell you polytunnels and polytunnel systems.

    Here is another place which I suspect will offer polytunnels.
    http://www.growersupply.com/
    It has lots of searchable sub-categories, at least one of which should offer polytunnels.

    These people may well charge more for polytunnels than Amazon will. But that is because they have to live off of earnings in the form of viable survival profits. Whereas Amazon receives the Deep Pockets backing of the Wall Street financiers and their bundled investors both large and small who are all subsidizing Amazon’s below-profit and maybe even below-cost predatory pricing in hopes of sharing Amazon’s future profits in the future when Amazon gets Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Growers Supply well and truly exterminated.

    If you buy from Amazon because of lower price and/or greater convenience of one-stop digital shopping, you are sharpening the ax for your own neck in the long run. If you decide to see it that way, then I suspect you will accept the greater tax on your time and the higher prices for no-Bezos items as part of the price of survival.

  88. Lindy permalink
    February 5, 2018

    Oh, there’s plenty of food for sale on Amazon. Probably the only thing you can’t get is fresh eggs. You can buy many items in bulk including cases of frozen pizza (just about any brand you can imagine) and fresh jugs, or vacuum packed cartons of milk (organic).

    Unfortunately, when I searched for “milk” my search turned up related(?) items like gallon jugs of bear urine, wolf urine, and fetal pigs (for lab use). Yuck. I didn’t want to know that. And I didn’t click on the jar of Uranium Ore that turned up either. I almost did, in disbelief. But I don’t want a record of me clicking on that.

  89. DMC permalink
    February 6, 2018

    Costco is the Anti-Amazon. They were started by old Labor activists to beat the Corporate sector at its own game. They have FIXED profit margins of about 15% on all their products. Their employees all claim its the best job they’ve ever had, not just because the pay is good but because they’re treated decently, they get good benefits and a pension. There truck drivers are Teamsters. You have to physically go to the local store and load your own stuff but they have a pharmacy, optometrist, hearing aid center, tire store and some of them even sell gas. In most states, you can use the pharmacy without being a member and when I was paying for my own meds, this was a BIG savings(like a third of what I would have paid elsewhere). Its like $60 a year for a standard membership because it’s a wholesale “cash & carry” kind of deal but if you live in any kind of multi-person arrangement, its cheap at the price. And you get better stuff, as they just don’t carry a lot of eye-wash crap like the regular big box stores. The food’s all up to food service quality. The Kirkland store brand merchandise is all first rate. Short of forming your own local buying co-op, shopping at Costco is about the most revolutionary thing you can do on the consumer front.

  90. Altandmain permalink
    February 10, 2018

    These days, it seems like Silicon Valley is not any different than the other robber barrons. They want our money – all of it and they are not going to let morality get in the way.

    @DMC

    Agree – I do a lot of shopping at Costco – in fact probably the most of all the stores I go to. They treat their employees well compared to other stores.

  91. February 17, 2018

    Technology companies like Amazon file a huge number of patents each year. It just makes sense for them to do so, because they have patent lawyers on permanent retainer. Even if the application is rejected, this is a net positive for the filer because this means no other competing firms can file for the same idea either. In the event that a patent application is accepted, most of them are never implemented in any meaningful way by the filer – especially in the case of technology companies.

    The optics of this story do conjure up the bleak possibilities my mind tends to drift towards, however after doing a very minimal amount of reading on these patents, I don’t think there’s much merit to that assessment in this case.

    These patents don’t appear to have anything to do with “nudging” workers as you described, Mr. Welsh. One patent describes a bracelet which can be tracked on a 2d plane to assess the accuracy of their employees’ hand movements – presumably to use the data to improve workflows and operational procedures. The other patent describes a way to trigger haptic feedback via RFID signals. In summation these patents appear to be nothing more than a high-tech beeper, worn on the wrist, which can be used to notify an employee when they make a mistake, in a much less invasive manner than today’s of computer screens and bulky scanning devices. If I had to work a warehouse stocking job like this, I’d want my hands free and my eyes not staring at computer screens. This makes sense.

    There’s no language used suggesting Amazon wants to use these patents to, for example, shock workers out of momentary daydreaming or lulls in productivity. This seems to be about preventing errors – some of which could result in dangerous/fatal consequences for other workers in the facility – via both real-time and long-term analysis.

    When you’re too careless to read the patents themselves and to get the facts straight, it lessens the impact and usefulness of your core arguments. These are not technicalities I am pointing out, but substantive differences between your assessment and the facts. I’m all about calling out Amazon whenever they engage in unethical workforce practices – but only when the facts substantiate the claims.

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